Race Results

Starting Line

Starting line of the 1st Ice Bird Worlds on the Navesink River, Red Bank, NJ 1/26/2014

Last Updated:  1/27/2014

RED BANK, NJ., January 26, 2014, we had the first ever Ice Bird Worlds. Eight boats participated and the results are below.  Ice birds are small, eight-foot long boats that are light and can sail on thinner ice and low winds.  It is a perfect boat for beginners.

Results of the Ice Bird Worlds:

Place.           Boat #.                  Name

1                   63                     Dan V.

2                 103.                    Rick S.

3                Blue.                   Aaron F.

4                 112.                     Mark P.

Note: 3 and 4 were a tie but Aaron finished first in race one, so he received the third.

Last Updated: 2/2/2011

The John Darling race was held on January 23, 2011 1st. Steve Foster 2nd. Mike Soldati 3rd. Dave Hoder

Last Updated: 11/7/2010

2009-2010 race results coming soon

Last Updated: 3/30/2003

We had a great season. See you on the ice next winter season.

Make those much needed repairs now before all those spring chores start to kick in and you find you have no time for it.


Last Updated: 2/8/2003

The National Sweepstakes that were rescheduled to this weekend (2/8 to 2/9) were called off due to 6 inches of snow cover on the river – see pictures of the day.

Perhaps next week….stay tuned.

Last Updated: 1/31/2003

National Sweepstakes Regatta called for weekend of Feb 1 & 2 . All classes of iceboats are welcomed to compete . Registration will be held Friday eve, January 31st, and Saturday morning, February 1st, in the club house . Skippers meeting is at 9am and the first race is at 10 am.

The fleets are :

A stern steerer

C & D stern steerer

Yankee ( B skeeter)

C skeeter ( gambit , blade runner , ice flyer, Nite , j14J , etc)

A skeeter



Information on the Van Nostrand Cup

Last Updated: 1/30/2003

NYTimes article on Van Nostrand cup challenge

The Race Was on Ice, the Champagne in a Cup

January 30, 2003


RED BANK, N.J., Jan. 25 – As the rest of the nation huddled indoors around Super Bowl pregame programming, a group of men dressed like Arctic explorers gathered today on a frozen river for a much older and colder form of combat.

They were racing ice yachts – sailboats on steel blades with the skippers lying on slim wooden frames just inches above the ice.

And they were competing in what may be the oldest and longest-deferred grudge match in sports history.

The Van Nostrand Challenge Cup had been raced only twice since 1889, when a wealthy Hudson Valley ice yachtsman, Gardiner Van Nostrand, donated a Tiffany silver cup to be kept by the winning team of each year’s race. At that time, ice boats were the fastest vessels on earth, reaching more than 100 miles an hour in a strong wind.

But the first and only winner of the cup, the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club here, had been loath to risk it after winning in 1891. After defending it successfully only once, in 1978, the club kept the cup locked away in a jeweler’s safe.

The commodore of the New Jersey club recently shocked many of his members by accepting a challenge from the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club. The Hudson boatmen had long resented the New Jersey team’s refusal to risk the cup. They were eager for their chance to win it back.

So by this morning, anticipation was high as the Hudson River boatmen wheeled their lovingly restored antique yachts onto the Navesink River at downtown Red Bank.

Conditions were almost ideal: several inches of clear ice on the river, a clearing sky, a temperature of 20 degrees, and a rising breeze of six to nine miles per hour.

“There’s been a change of the guard here,” said John Vargo, a tall Hudson River boatman wearing an entire coyote skin on his head, the forepaws tied under his chin. “Until now, they just didn’t want anyone else to have the cup.”

Like many other boatmen, Mr. Vargo has an encyclopedic knowledge of his sport’s aristocratic origins and faded grandeur. Walking across the ice, he pointed out two boats once owned by the family of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Inside the North Shrewsbury clubhouse, a cluttered repository of old sails and yellowing photographs, the atmosphere was apprehensive. “I didn’t get much sleep last night,” said Mark Petersen, the commodore of the club. “I don’t want to be the commodore who lost the cup.”

The two teams had agreed to race only the old-fashioned wooden boats known as gaff rigs, some of them a century old. From a distance, the rigs resemble 19th-century schooners, with dark spruce masts and tall parchment-colored sails.

Up close, they are more like gigantic wooden crossbows, with a long main beam and a transverse spar running across it for stability.

After a running start and a leap into the cockpit, the boats accelerate at panic-inducing speed. They can go up to six times the speed of the wind – any ice boater can explain the physics to you. And at just 30 miles per hour, the cold cuts exposed skin like a knife and the runners clatter like skipped stones on water.

By midmorning, six boats – three for each of the two clubs – were on the starting line, about a mile south of the clubhouse. In each race, the boats would run three circles around two markers placed a mile apart. The winning team would be the first to win three of five races.

At 10:45, a boom from a miniature cannon set the boatmen off. The Hudson boats tacked eastward, the others west, to keep from colliding.

The New Jersey boats quickly took the lead, reaching the red upwind marker first.

“It’s a light wind – that’s good for the Jersey boats, because they’re lighter,” Mr. Vargo said.

As the boats slalomed back around the starting line, several of them rose up on one side in the wind, like motorcycles leaning inward on a turn. Ice boaters call this hiking, and it can be dangerous.

If the rear runner rises off the ice, the entire boat can turn into the wind and begin spinning wildly, sending the driver flying across the ice. Among ice boaters, this wipeout is called a flicker.

New Jersey took the first race, and then the second. The heavier Hudson boats were lovely, but they seemed unable to match their competitors.

Bob Wills, the commodore of the Hudson River club, winced as his teammate, Reid Bielenberg fell far behind the rest of the pack in his lovely 1885 rig, the Vixen.

“Reid looks like he’s stopping for shellfish,” he moaned.

The wind picked up as the third race began, and for a moment it looked as though Rick Lawrence, the lead Hudson boat, might win. But the New Jersey boats overtook him.

It was over: New Jersey had maintained its hold on the cup. On the sidelines, shouts and cheers erupted, and big men dressed in snowsuits began bearhugging each other.

Despite their loss, the Hudson Valley team members did not seem unhappy.

“The main thing is, we got the race run,” Mr. Lawrence said. “It was a long time coming.”

Back at the North Shrewsbury clubhouse, Gordon Burroughs brought out the Van Nostrand cup. He attached it to a silver and wood plaque, and carefully placed it on a table in the center of the room.

“We think of this like the holy grail,” he said, gazing at it lovingly.

All around him, members of the two clubs were sitting down together, eating a hot lunch of penne and sausage in plastic foam bowls. If there was any lingering bitterness over the cup, it was not apparent.

A few hours later, the two clubs held a celebratory dinner, and drank six bottles of champagne from the Van Nostrand cup itself.

“We had a great time,” Mr. Petersen said. “You hear things about people over the years, and you meet them and everything is different.”

From now on, he added, the teams will race for the Van Nostrand cup every year – at least when winters are cold enough for ice.

Last Updated: 1/26/2003

We wish to thank the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club folks who ventured to our club on Saturday, January 25, 2003, for the Gardner Van Nostrand Challenge Cup match. Our club managed to hold on to this prestigious title in this three on three boat race. Winning boats were the “A” Class Ice Yachts were the “Blizzard” and the “Now Then”. Our club treated the Hudson sailors to a dinner at the club Saturday night prepared by club member and professional chef, John Gannon (Yankee class “B” Skeeter owner, sail number N536).

Stay tuned for a more proper article on this coveted race in the near future.

Last Updated: 1/23/2003

Races being held this weekend:

Saturday, January 25th

Sunday, January 26th